Become inspired, find your voice, and create work that matters.
Why are human beings driven to make?
It’s as if we collectively intuited, long before science gave us the language, that the universe bends toward entropy, and every act of creation on our part is an act of defiance in the face of that evolving disorder.
When we pick up a paintbrush, or compose elements through our camera viewfinders, or press fingers into wet clay to wrestle form from a shapeless lump, we are bending things back toward Order and wrestling them from Chaos.
But making things is often not enough.
We also want the things we make to be filled with meaning. We’re each trying to describe what we know about life, to create a collective sense of “safety in numbers.” When we reach the end of our traditional descriptive powers, it’s time to weave collective meaning from poetry, painting, writing, dancing, photographing, filmmaking, storytelling, singing, animating, designing, performing, carving, sculpting, and a million other ways we daily create Order out of the Chaos and share it with each other for comfort.
On this journey we need a creative philosophy which will help us find our voice, discover our message, deal with the responses to our work, maintain inspiration, and stay mentally healthy and motivated creators as we strive to find “the meaning in the making.”
Sean Tucker is a professional photographer and filmmaker based in the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Order
Chapter 2: Logos
Chapter 3: Breath
Chapter 4: Voice
Chapter 5: Ego
Chapter 6: Control
Chapter 7: Attention
Chapter 8: Envy
Chapter 9: Critique
Chapter 10: Feel
Chapter 11: Shadows
Chapter 12: Meaning
Chapter 13: Time
Chapter 14: Benediction
11 x 18 cmin
Soft Cover- without flaps
Phlip Ulanowsky (verified owner) August 24, 2021
Sean Tucker has earned a large but selective following on YouTube and has not disappointed with his first book. Just as he has refined his videos generally away from already over-abundant technical advice on his photographic (and filmmaking) profession, leading his viewers instead to consider the deeper challenges of being an artist in the medium, he offers us here a multifaceted insight into a number of typical unstated assumptions about ourselves that we carry around, whose recognition can open doors to creative work that otherwise may appear locked, or simply not appear at all.
In this framework, he generalizes his appeal to all “makers,” the engagement with making things a means of creating order, a reassurance of our efficacy as rational beings in a chaotic world. His insights into the creative process apply broadly, and their lessons may be appreciated by a wide audience, including many in younger generations who have grown up in a seemingly non-physical world dominated by isolating personal electronic devices drawing users into an endless search for instant, but shallow, gratification. The author guides us through a well-ordered series of chapters with deceptively simple names such as Logos, Breath, Ego, Envy, and Time. There is real substance to be discovered.
In the book as in his web presentations, Mr. Tucker strives for honesty in seeking what is true, speaking openly and frankly about his background and his own course of errors and successes, challenges and inspirations. While remaining non-judgemental respecting others’ approaches to the photographic medium, he offers his own clear views of some of the foundations of his outlook, drawn from his youthful experience as a seminarian and encounters with wise individuals who intersected his path at crucial points in his development. From each, he draws lessons. While there are many today who reject any concept of truth and dismiss any notion of beauty as essential in art, Tucker makes a persuasive—and, for many others, this writer included, refreshing—argument for these principles, whether or not we may agree on their various manifestations in art. He is equally unabashed in urging his reader to recognize, despite the press of the chaos of perceived reality, the natural goodness of humanity and the desire to create something of beauty.
The style of Mr. Tucker’s writing is, like his speaking, at once arresting and engaging. It flows easily and carries us with him. For the artist thinking seriously about his or her journey, The Meaning in the Making is a welcome and wonderful companion.
Dave Kitson (verified owner) September 11, 2021
I’ve followed Sean Tucker on YouTube for a good while, and his straight forward way of explaining the psychology behind photographer compelled to buy his book.
His philosophical messages are superbly delivered to help me to understand why I photograph, and the vulnerability of his stories help me to keep going through the ups and downs of creating and presenting my own work.
This book is a fantastic read, providing details into his backstory which all creators can relate to in some way, and stories to help us to balance the self doubt with our over confidence – a line I personally dance around constantly.
And I love the qr codes at the ends of some of the chapters which provide images and videos discussed within them. This additional source of material is a superb way of sharing examples and helping to understand the points conveyed.
I highly recommend this to anybody who creates art.
Hanh Nguyen (verified owner) September 23, 2021
A fantastic read, if you have any self doubts about creating. This book really help me in the up and down of my creativity journey and gives me confidence. Absolutely love it. Highly recommended.
Narelle Jarvis (verified owner) October 6, 2021
I’m wanting so much to write a good review of Sean Tucker’s The Meaning in the Making, but I don’t think that I’m eloquent enough to do it justice, but here goes.
So many good points to be considered in his writing. Motivational. Philosophical. Inspirational. There’s a lot of sense on which to reflect and his writing comes across as very honest.
Not one to use highlighters or underlining in books because I think it’s a sacrilege, I now regret not adding bookmarks or even taking notes. A second read is in the offing.
The QR codes at the end of some chapters are a nice addition, linking to images of which he writes.
Initially as I read, I could hear Sean’s voice reading to me because I’m familiar with his youtube videos. That was a bit weird, but nice.
Even though his art-form is photography and film-making and with the publication of this book, writing, Sean’s words are for all creatives. The book has an easy flow and is easy to read and I savoured it. It gets a Highly Recommended from me.
NB: I found the people at RockyNook great to deal with and they kept me informed when there was an unavoidable delay in delivery to Australia.
Claudio Olivares Medina (verified owner) October 15, 2021
As many others I started following Sean on his YouTube channel. It was a bliss have found on that platform so deep and generous content about photography, psychology, philosophy, and about life itself.
Reading to this book was a natural milestone to follow. It si so well structured, assembled across a sort of autobiography, where self awareness and lessons learned emerge to inspire. It is a very intimate book, and in order write it, a great courage was needed. I appreciate that and I praise on the generosity to share this with the world.
It certainly becomes a bedside book, a window to reconnect with the truth when I feel lost, to explore or expand my knowledge in psychology, philosophy and art.
I couldn’t wait for the printed version, so I bought it digital. And yes, I would like to have it in physical form. It deserves to exist on my bookshelf.
Greetings from Chile.
Gloria October 20, 2021
How refreshing and fascinating to read a book about photography that is not as concerned with the shutter speed and ISO as it is with the meaning of your work, your voice, and the how and why of creating photographic images. At the beginning of this compellingly written book the author tells us to use the QR code to access his photographs and videos and boy, is it worth it! A better way to show your work than merely printing it on the page.
I very much enjoyed his piece on an understanding of order, and the corresponding chaos, of the universe, realized by the author when he was a child. That resonated for me and I am curious to see how he works it into his philosophy of photography. Tucker believes that part of the reason we create, part of the reason that we make art such as photography, is to somehow make order from the chaos.
The chapter on voice is inspirational and well done, as is the rest of this work. He describes the importance of and the process by which you can develop your own voice in photography. Always useful for me to think about that.
I think his section on envy might be my favorite:-). I don’t know about other readers, but as an amateur photographer I find myself feeling sometimes very competitive when I compare myself to other photographers. But Tucker doesn’t stop at pointing out the competitiveness most of us feel; he goes one very helpful step further and discusses how we can deal with that in a way that is healthy and helpful to our own photography skills. I love it. I cannot recall having read anything about many of these topics for photographers before. Very useful book for those of us committed to being photogs, whether amateur or professional.
The book also has a heart, and the author talks about the importance of compassion in such a chaotic universe. I appreciated that sentiment in the middle of a book about photography. In the final sections of the book the author talks about meaning, especially in a commercial world, as applied to your own photography. I was struck by his telling us that our bliss, e.g. photography, is not just self-indulgence; it’s something we can diligently work on with “deep gladness“.
This book has much to tell us about life and especially about what photography does for us. I enjoyed the deep dive.
vartkes (verified owner) October 22, 2021
Have you ever wondered where the urge to create comes from at times? Do you have ideas that flash in your mind about why you are standing at the spot you are standing with camera in hand? I “met” Sean at his Y-Tube Channel; a rare find that i am grateful for. He paints context where you may find some of the answers to your questions. I often find pointers to why I may be drawn to photograph subjects that seems to be of no interest to anyone else as I listen to his perspectives. There are no defined answers to why, what and how we create. Sean paints contexts where we may explore our answers to those fundamental questions.
Sean belongs to the small club of ‘philosopher-photographers’, like Bruce Barnbaum, Guy Tal, Brooks Jensen and Freeman Patterson from whom we learn how to explore the ideas behind, the context of and the why of our photographs. If you explore your soul through your photography, then you will want to read Sean Tucker.
Jason Bulson (verified owner) October 23, 2021
Sean Tucker has a rare blend of talent, perspective, life experiences and humility.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a creator, this book is a worthy read for all.
pamukjones January 20, 2022
I have just finished reading The Meaning in the Making and I cannot recommend it enough for creatives (it’s not just for photographers!). I have followed Sean along on his YouTube channel for a number of years now and his thoughtful content often motivates me to stop and reassess my approach or it helps me to reflect that I’m on the right path for me. He is always insightful and challenging those who watch or read his material to dig deeper and not just accept the status quo. This book really comes at creativity from a different perspective – it’s not a tips and tricks book, but his material rarely is – it will position you to really focus on those areas of your development that may be holding you back from reaching the next level. I also went to his website and purchased the audio version (only available on his website) and it was well worth it – I have listened to the him read the chapters and each time I go over this material I get something new. If you’re looking for deeper meaning in your photography then this is a great book to help you explore.
ssaasa (verified owner) February 11, 2022
A fantastic and insightful trip through the creative process. I picked this book up at exactly the time that I needed it. The description of the phases of growth that we must work through was heartfelt and beautifully expressed. It felt like listening to a wise friend, and I came away encouraged, inspired, and hopeful.
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